Bottom line up front: Any savvy surfer can tell you that Silvagni's is a rip off. Find someone else to teach you how to surf. You can teach yourself how to paddle board instead of paying some kid 60 bucks for ten minutes worth of instruction. Just go on U TUBE, Get a board and then stand on it. Its practically a kayak. Anyhow, if you care to read about the extent of my experience with Tony Silvagni surf school, keep reading.
If not, just heed my warning and go elsewhere.
First, let me start by saying that I've read some negative reviews online about this business, but wasn't sure about the veracity of other reviewers claims. I've concluded that it's sufficient to say that the negative reviews were on point, as no rebuttals can be found anywhere on the website. This is because A. the owner is stupid or B because they are truthful. Due to the highly corporatized nature of Silvagni's surf school, I'd say B, other reviewers are totally justified when they say that this place is a RIP OFF.
Tony Silvagni Surf School has a monopoly in Carolina Beach and Wilmington, NC. Every single shop in the town has his brochure and if you ask any one in this town, they will tell you Tony Silvagni is THE surf school to go to in town. They say its a two students to one instructor at a rate of 60 bucks each for a two hour session. We told them we didnt need that many instructors for a paddle board instructions in the inter coastal waterway (which is just a bunch of docks, still water, and boats) and yet they STILL charged us 60 bucks each for four students.
We got some kid who gave us ten minutes of instruction for 240 bucks. Then, we asked if we could hold onto the boards for the rest of the day (it was 1 PM). They intially wanted to charge us 30 bucks a board for four hours. We asked the owner to give us a discount, since usually surf schools let you keep the board for the whole day for FREE. Even at Ron Jons in Cocoa Beach did that for us. Nope, not here, they offered us 20 bucks a board for four hours. What Samaritans, right?
I have a lot of experience hiring instructors for surfing in (Aqua East and Ron Jon's) Florida, Costa Rica (Witch's Rock), Indonesia(some dudes that didnt speak English) and Barbados (Melonie). All of my experiences the people were very cool and genuinely were trying to give you a good deal. All of these instructors were honest hard working people who went above and beyond to earn your business and refer them to other people.
My husband and I tipped very generously. We liked them and felt like they treated us fairly. This is the first place I've been to where I realized that the "cool surfer" dude owner is just another corporatized money grubbing blood sucker. Don't be fooled by the "surfer" vibe- anyone can talk like Crush (the turtle from Finding Nemo). "Saw the whole thing, dude. First you were all like "whoa", and we were like "whoa", and you were like "whoa..."